Yogurt

Like milk, yogurt comes in whole, low-fat, and nonfat varieties. The calorie and fat content reflect the milk it's made from. Yogurt also may be flavored with fruit, fruit preserves, or extracts such as vanilla or coffee. If you're watching calories, reach for plain low-fat yogurt or yogurt flavored with a low-calorie sweetener, such as aspartame.

Yogurt is made with "friendly" bacteria, which give a distinctive taste and consistency. As an added benefit, active, live cultures may offer health benefits, perhaps in boosting immunity or in helping the body digest milk's sugar. However, the research on the health benefits of active, live cultures in yogurt isn't conclusive. See chapter 4 for more onprobiotics.

Yogurt with labels that state "made with active cultures" may not contain live cultures if it's been heat-treated. Frozen yogurt may contain live active cultures; if they're present, freezing slows their action.

  • If you want the potential benefit of active live cultures, look for the "Live and Active Cultures" seal, administered by the National Yogurt Association, on regular and frozen yogurt containers. The ingredient list shows the probiotic, or live, cultures; those most commonly used are Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. casei, L. reuteri, and Bifidobacterium bifidum (Bifidus).
  • Look for different types of yogurt—fruit-flavored or plain, and whole, low-fat, or nonfat. Yogurt is another high-calcium, high-protein dairy food. In fact, 8 ounces of either yogurt or milk supply about 300 milligrams of calcium. If you don't drink much milk, you might buy more yogurt to get the calcium you need. Some yogurt is vitamin D fortified.
  • Enjoy flavored yogurt-juice beverages or drinkable yogurt—another source of calcium. Or look for the yogurt drink called kefir. Ingesting thick and frothy kefir is somewhat like drinking yogurt. It's a cultured dairy beverage usually made from cow or goat milk and the active, "friendly" kefir bacteria.
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